Ok, I am guilty of it. Last week, I complained that everyone and their mother was sticking “i” in front of a word and calling it a brand, but darn’d if I can’t help but do it too – and find it a little bit fun.
I wrote last week that the family of i-marks that Apple was building (or buying) was being eroded by other companies using the “i” introduction. But today, Dan Kelly wrote a piece that helped me realize another part of the story, one which I am a bit embarrassed I didn’t think of earlier.
In most instances, I imagine the application of an “i” to the front of a word is simply a hope to seem edgy, hip, and electronic. But, for some, this has to be a simple buyout strategy. As Dan points out, “there is probably no trademark dispute that [Apple] cannot afford to fight or settle,” and that creates a great market for a potential trademark owner. Dan notes a number of cases in which Apple was the second user of the mark and ultimately prevailed. They mostly all involve larger companies. But when the days of dot-com buyouts are far in the past, perhaps the exit plan of some companies is much cheaper and simpler – file an intent-to-use application on an i-mark and wait for Apple to deliver.